בקעת הירדן, יום ד' 19.10.2011

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Observers: 
Karin L., Dafna B. (reporting). Guests: Aharon L., Diana M.
Oct-19-2011
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Afternoon

Translator:  Charles K.

Auja

We met F.from the Jordan Vally Solidarity in connection with a film being made about denying access to water in the Jordan Valley.  The grass-roots movement built a mud structure in a Bedouin locality opposite the Yatav settlement.  It’s intended as a school for the Bedouin children, and named for Vittorio Arrigoni, a journalist murdered earlier this year in Gaza.  Classes aren’t being held there now because there’s no money to operate it.  Farther along the road are two drilling sites – Niran 3 and Niran 4, whose sign indicates they contain poisonous material.

From there we drove to a place where until recently there’s been a large spring – the Auja spring.  Waterfalls (the slide) and channels distributed water equally, with an eye to the future, to the entire region.  Today the spring has been completely destroyed.  There’s an abandoned dam that controlled the flow (1800 cubic meters per hour) to El Auja and the other villages in the area and then – directly to the Jordan River, to maintain its water level and that of the Dead Sea.  Elimination of the spring is one of the reasons the Dead Sea is drying up, for the sinkholes, and, of course, that the Jordan River is drying up. 

Here’s why:  Israel constructed a deep pumping station on the banks of the spring (that also contains, according to the sign, dangerous materials!), which along with the two pumping stations we saw earlier collected all the waters of the spring.  In the winter, following heavy rains, water still flows here, but during he rest of the year it’s dry.  You can only cry at this ecological disaster. 

Here’s a link to a site showing what the location looked like 13 years ago, during the same season – autumn, 1998: http://www.alternativ.co.il/Travel_Main.asp?travelID=8.